Posted: Wednesday January 10, 2007 12:53PM; Updated: Thursday January 11, 2007 2:13PM
USC showcased its dominant defense in a 32-18 thrashing of Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
Peter Read Miller/SI
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Now that Michigan and Ohio State got throttled in the two biggest bowl games, is there more validity to the view that the Big Ten is perennially overrated? -- John T., Boca Raton, Fla.
You like this one? Good, because I've got 354 others just like it.
I've said it before and I'll say it a million times again: Conference strength is CYCLICAL. It changes every year. Yes, the Big Ten was highly overrated this season. Its top two teams turned out to be not of national-championship-caliber, its third-best team (Wisconsin) did not beat either of those teams, its fourth-best team (Penn State) didn't put everything together until its bowl game and ... I don't even want to talk about the other teams.
But that doesn't mean the league is perennially overrated. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe just last year the Big Ten won three BCS/New Year's bowl games. And was it also overrated in 2002 when Ohio State won its national title over an absolutely loaded Miami team? Say it with me, people: Cyclical.
Stewart, what do you think about the overrated SEC now? The SEC IS the toughest conference to play in, period. It is nearly impossible to finish undefeated and even though UF dominated Ohio State last night, I suspect LSU might have been the best team in the league. -- Scott, Hoover, Ala.
As much as I'm happy for Chris Leak, Urban Meyer and the rest of the Gators, the one downfall of their championship win is that it assures I'll be receiving e-mails like this one every day for the rest of my life. Again -- cyclical. Was the SEC the toughest conference this season? I think that's pretty clear. (For the record, I never said it was overrated). Year-in, year-out, does the SEC get the most elite athletes of any league in the country? It sure seems that way.
But it takes more than a bunch of fast guys running around to field a great team. Florida would not have won the national title without some excellent coaching and a valuable core of experienced senior leaders. USC was pretty darn athletic this year, too, but was ultimately doomed by inexperience in a couple key areas. And so, there will be seasons like this one when the SEC produces more elite teams than everybody else, and then there will be seasons like last year's where every team's a bit flawed and the league winds up producing a champion, Georgia, that loses to a team with some speed of its own, West Virginia, in a BCS bowl game.